In a March 1, 2013 decision in Lundy v. Catholic Health System of Long Island Inc., the Second Circuit resolved two questions of first impression concerning the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). The court held that: (1) in order to state a plausible FLSA overtime claim, a plaintiff must sufficiently allege 40 hours of work in a given workweek as well as some uncompensated time in excess of the 40 hours; and (2) the FLSA does not provide for a gap-time claim even when an employee has worked overtime.
In a putative class action, the plaintiffs alleged that the defendants had failed to compensate them adequately for time worked during meal breaks, before and after scheduled shifts, and during required training sessions. The plaintiffs appealed from the district court’s dismissal of their claims under the FLSA, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”), and the New York Labor Law (“NYLL”).
On an issue that the Second Circuit had not previously considered, the court concluded that, in order to state a plausible FLSA overtime claim, a plaintiff must sufficiently allege 40 hours of work in a given workweek as well as some uncompensated time in excess of the 40 hours. The court affirmed the dismissal of the FLSA overtime claim because the plaintiffs had not alleged a single workweek in which they worked at least 40 hours and also worked uncompensated time in excess of 40 hours. Instead, the plaintiffs had merely alleged that they had occasionally worked more than 40 hours a week, without alleging that they had been denied overtime pay in any particular week.
The court also affirmed the dismissal of the plaintiffs’ FLSA gap-time claim. A gap-time claim is one in which an employee has not worked 40 hours in a given week but seeks recovery of unpaid time worked, or in which an employee has worked over 40 hours in a given week but seeks recovery for unpaid work under 40 hours. In another issue of first impression, the court held that the FLSA does not provide for a gap-time claim even when an employee has worked overtime. The court explained that the FLSA requires only payment of minimum wages and overtime wages, without affording any recovery for gap-time hours.The court also affirmed the dismissal of the plaintiffs’ RICO claims and NYLL overtime claims, but it vacated the dismissal of their NYLL gap-time claims and remanded for the sole purpose of enabling the district court to consider whether the plaintiffs had adequately pled those claims. Although the plaintiffs’ FLSA claims did not survive a motion to dismiss in Lundy, the court’s reinstatement of the NYLL gap-time claim should serve as a reminder that employers need to ensure compliance with both federal and state wage and hour laws at all times.